October is Bullying Prevention Month and as the month ends I wanted to find a connection with campers or Twin Creeks, anything to make the post a little more interesting. Well I now have that connection…
When Amy and I return to the Philadelphia area after the summer I resume a part-time position as a High School Freshman Soccer Coach. I love the work, love the kids and being on the soccer pitch every day for a few hours. Yesterday a parent reached out to me with information concerning a video of her son being bullied and physically assaulted. This had been happening on my team for the last 4 or 5 weeks and I was unaware. The act itself caught on video was sickening, a cold-blooded punch to the head of a teammate. It was edited and set to music, then probably shared with many of their 30 teammates. Teammates and bystanders.
This incident took place over 3 weeks ago and nobody on the team brought it to my attention nor to the attention of a parent or teacher. There will always be a bully, there will always be a victim. What does need to change and be reinforced is that those watching need to intervene, or ask for help.
This is what I will talk to my team about this afternoon as we prepare for the final game of our freshman season. I also fully expect to be without several players that participated in this bullying, or were content to stand off to the side and do nothing.
When campers arrive at Camp Twin Creeks on the first day of a session we remind them that we are a Ridicule Free Zone and bullying of any kind will not be tolerated. Our hope is that all campers learn to tolerate each other while at camp; not easy when you consider they live, sleep, eat, play and so much more together. But get along they do and our hope and aim is that they depart Twin Creeks after 2 weeks a little better prepared to intervene should they need to.
I hope that is the case and the next time a bully tries to make a victim of a teammate there is somebody there to stop them or, at the very least, ask for help.
For more information from the ACA and articles about Bullying Prevention visit their website.